There is a shallow digital zoom that can be controlled by pushing up and down on the d-pad, and a shooting light and record delay can be toggled by pressing left and right. The shooting light isn’t exceptionally bright, but having one is better than having none, and having quick access is a nice design touch.
The Bloggie 3D can store 80 minutes of the highest quality footage (1080/30p), both 2D and 3D. However, clips are limited to a half hour. I was barely able to fill the Bloggie with 80 minutes of footage before the battery ran out. Users have to charge the device over USB on a PC as Sony did not package an AC adapter.
It may be a 3D camcorder, but the Bloggie 3D is still a pocket camcorder, meaning it meets the “stupid-simple” operation criteria. The Bloggie 3D decently automates white balance, focus, and exposure – by pocket camcorder standards anyway. It requires at least four inches of space to focus. It also automates the 3D convergence point, which is essentially the focal point of the two lenses when creating the 3D effect.
By adjusting the convergence point, users can pull the 3D effect out of the screen or push it back into the display. But that is neither here nor there as it can’t be adjusted on the Bloggie 3D.
While shooting 2D, users can also snap stills, and there is a face detection feature while holding the camcorder in portrait mode. That feature is not available while shooting 3D, nor is the auto focus, zoom, anti-blur, or snapping stills while shooting video.
Video, Stills, and Audio Quality
The Bloggie 3D video quality is on par with other pocket camcorders. At 1080p, it’s clean but not particularly crisp. The colors appear balanced and accurate in steady light, and still look decent in low light. There is a moderate amount of noise in the low light footage and details all but disappear, but the colors are discernable and the Bloggie 3D generally outperforms other pocket camcorders.
When viewed on a 3D HDTV, the 3D footage is – well, it’s 3D. It works, and the effect is nearly as good as anything available from the Comcast On Demand 3D offerings. The video quality itself is not as good as the professional stuff as it appears dim and splotchy when shot from the Bloggie 3D (you can tell it came from a $250 camcorder), but there is no arguing that the depth is apparent. The same comments apply for the 3D stills.
The 2D stills look great and rival low-end Point and Shoot cameras. In fact, if I were carrying a Bloggie 3D, I’d probably leave the point-and-shoot at home.
The stereo mic also meets the standard set by the Bloggie Touch. There is no external mic input, but provided you are not covering the either mic with your finger, you can record decent-enough audio in most shooting situations.
Operation and Extras
The Bloggie 3D ships with a wrist strap and USB extender. It comes pre-loaded with the Bloggie software detailed in the Bloggie Touch review. Once again, Sony excludes the HDMI cable, which is required to experience the 3D outside of the camcorder, as well as any sort of protective carrying case. Considering 3D is the main selling point of the device, Sony should have included an HDMI cable.
The Bloggie software is still one of the best pre-packaged software shipping with camcorders, especially now that FlipShare is no longer around. It’s especially good for quickly uploading videos and photos to sharing sites like YouTube and Facebook, which I imagine most Bloggie owners will want to do with their clips.
3D videos uploaded to YouTube will feature the site’s red/blue technology, which provides a low-end 3D experience when viewed with the old-fashioned glasses. To view the real 3D, users will have to rely on their 3D-capable HDTVs and stream the footage over HDMI. Footage can also be viewed on 3D-capable PCs.
Because the Bloggie 3D records MP4 files, users can also simply drag and drop them off the device via USB.
Finally, the Bloggie 3D can double as a webcam when connected over USB. It’s a fun feature, and there is a 3D option on the camera when connected, though I can’t confirm it records 3D as my laptop is not 3D capable.